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Israel hijacks aid ship, tasers activist

JY Hodge

November 20, 2011

The Canadian Boat to Gaza made a second attempt in early November to deliver medical aid to Gaza and break Israel’s illegal blockade, but was hijacked in international waters by the Israeli Navy. At least one passenger was tasered by Israeli soldiers.

The Tahrir sailed with the Irish vessel MV Saoirse from an undisclosed location in Turkey. The boats were delivering medical supplies in a symbolic effort to break the siege.

The Israeli state responded by boarding the ships. In the words of an Irish delegate: “The takeover of the MV Saoirse was violent and dangerous. It began with Israeli forces hosing down the boats with high pressure hoses and pointing guns at the passengers through the windows.”

Harper’s government has wholeheartedly supported the piracy of the Israeli Navy, with Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird denouncing the trip as “provocative and unhelpful,” and other terrorist groups” before alluding to non-existent weapons smuggling.

David Heap and Ehab Lotayef, delegates aboard the Tahrir, were released by Israeli officials in response to international pressure. They returned to Canada on November 10.

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